Philadelphia area accident victims who want to know whether their front auto airbag should have deployed need to understand a bit about how they are designed for your protection. Michael L. Saile, Jr., a Bucks County personal injury lawyer, offers some details about the history of air bags and their intended function.
Background and Composition
Driver’s front auto airbags became standard in new vehicles in 1999. They are designed for single collision use and deploy in about 1/20 of a second; side airbags even faster. If you were in an accident that involved several vehicles on a Bucks County or Philadelphia road, probably more than one collision happened to your vehicle in that single event, but your front airbag only deployed once. Side airbags, if your car has them, may have deployed as well upon a secondary side impact.
Auto airbags are installed with cornstarch or talcum powder to keep them lubricated. There is also a sealant that is used to prolong the life of the airbag, and an exhaust gas is dispelled when your airbags deploy. All three may cause the appearance of smoke but rarely is it indicative of fire. None of the components are potentially harmful. In fact, if your auto did catch fire, the airbag sensors will cause them to open if the temperature gets above 300 degrees so that they do not explode.
Speed and Point of Impact
Airbags are not activated in every accident situation and probably the most common question that accident injury victims ask is: “Shouldn’t my airbag have deployed?” There are a few possible answers.
- First, many crashes are not significant enough to set off the auto airbags. Airbag sensors are known to be extremely reliable in their assigned duty of adding protection beyond that of your seat belt. Front airbag sensors will only be activated upon frontal or near-frontal crashes. Sensors are able to differentiate between crash force and that of a significant bump in the road or if you simply jam on your brakes.
- Secondly, most collisions are not perfectly head-on, but rather occur at an angle, so it is not correct to say that an auto airbag must provide protection when your vehicle is traveling at a specific speed.
As a guideline though, the NHTSA says that front auto airbags should deploy at a speed between 8 and 14 mph when hitting a solid barrier. If your PA accident injury is a result of impact with another car, chances are that car moved at least a bit, and in addition absorbed some of the force. If a parked car is struck, for example, the same deployment might require the moving vehicle to be travelling at about 28 mph.
The personal injury attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC can offer you experienced representation in your PA or NJ accident injury claim, and in turn help you obtain the medical treatment necessary to recover from your accident injuries, plus any additional compensation you may have a right to. Just because the factors present in your Bucks County car accident did not make your airbags deploy, does not mean your Philadelphia area accident wasn’t serious enough to cause you injury. Start getting answers to your quesitons by ordering our FREE PA Car Accident Guide, which is available to you by instant download. This informative guide will provide you with suggestions about what to do next.